M-RCBG Associate Working Paper No. 217

The Building Mission Zero

Rt Hon Chris Skidmore OBE MP
Simon McWhirter

Introduction Excerpt

To understand the net zero challenge that buildings present, we only have to look around us. The UK Green Building Council has observed that 80% of the homes that will be occupied in 2050 are the homes that exist now. Over half of all homes in England are built before 1965, and almost 20% before 1919.1 48% of BE emissions are produced by energy use within existing buildings ; energy use in homes, 69% of operational emissions of all buildings, accounts for 16% of UK emissions; over half 62% of emissions from homes are from gas boilers.

Reducing emissions in these 80% of existing properties must be the immediate priority of a National Retrofit Programme; unfortunately at present, we lack a coordinated nationwide National Retrofit Strategy, as proposed across the sector, including by the UKGBC, the EEIG and the National Retrofit Hub.

It is clear that buildings, whether in their existing and future form, present one of the most important challenges and opportunities to achieve net zero, at the same time as reduce our energy demand for fossil fuels. Buildings represent, after surface transport, the second largest emitting sector. They are responsible for 25% of UK greenhouse gas emissions, with around 18% of buildings emissions from the operation of buildings, 6% embodied carbon. If we continue on a business as usual trajectory, projections suggest only a 60% emissions reduction will be achieved compared to 1990 by 2050.

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